Today’s guest post about metal detecting with kids comes from Diane, one-half of the duo behind a cool new metal detecting website, Fossickr. Diane and her family (including her now grown kids) have been metal detecting for decades. Diane and her husband Tom have loved introducing this fascinating outdoor hobby to their grandchildren, Sienna, Liberty and Jackson. They are big advocates for getting kids away from behind their screens – TVs, phones, computers, tablets and game consoles – and to enjoy spending time outdoors and in nature. Diane shares her tips for getting kids started with metal detecting.
Metal detecting: a fun and affordable way to spend time as a family outdoors
A metal detector can be a wonderful Christmas gift for your family. Or perhaps you and your family are heading off on a camping trip and you’re looking for activities to keep the kids from complaining about the lack of wifi. Metal detecting with kids is a fun and healthy hobby and a great way to get the family spending time outdoors together.
Tip 1: Don’t spend a fortune
When Tom and I started getting into metal detecting decades ago, it was super expensive. The machines were clunky, heavy, and didn’t have a fraction of the features the basic models offer today. Our hobby has become much more accessible for families these days and you can buy a solid starter metal detector for beginners for under $60. You don’t need to spend a fortune on your first machine to have fun and get real results. Metal detectors under $100 are not toys. They are the real deal! Sure, they might not have digital screens – but aren’t we trying to get our kids here away from digital screens and out into nature?
You don’t need to spend a fortune on your first machine to have fun and get real results. Metal detectors under $100 are not toys. They are the real deal! Sure, they might not have digital screens – but aren’t we trying to get our kids here away from digital screens and out into nature?
Tip 2: Teach your kids how a metal detector works
Using a metal detector opens up an opportunity to teach your kids about the science behind metal detectors. They’re actually very simple machines. Learn about how metal detectors work and share this information with your kids. Wonderopolis provides some easy-to-understand information about how metal detectors work.
Tip 3: Teach your kids how to use it at home
I recommend teaching your kids how to use your metal detector at home in your own backyard or at a local park before you take them to the beach or into the great outdoors with their metal detector. You’ll maximise your treasure hunting time if everyone has already practised using it.
Tip 4: Wear the right things
When you’re outdoors and spending time on your feet for a few hours, you want to make sure you’re dressed comfortably and for your environment and climate. Just like when you’re hiking, you’ll want to make sure you have comfortable clothes made of breathable materials. If you’re heading out into the bush, your shoes should be sturdy enough to give you good traction on uneven ground, just like a decent pair of hiking boots or trail runners. Layers of clothing work best – you can take layers off when you get too warm.
Don’t forget to take a hat, sunscreen, water and some snacks.
[See our post First hike: Tips for newbies for more ideas on what to wear and what to bring]
Tip 5: Set a timer to give everyone a fair go
Just like any new family toy can set siblings bickering about who gets a turn and for how long, when it comes to metal detecting, set a timer so each child gets a turn. It might be 15 or 20 minutes each, it might be longer or shorter depending how much time you have available and how many kids are sharing the one detector.
It’s also a good idea to have backup activities for the kids who aren’t currently using the metal detector. Draw a list of things for them to spot or collect and they can do that while waiting for their turn. Or get them to help with digging up the treasure and refilling holes.
Tip 6: Get permission
Wherever you plan to take the metal detector, make sure you have permission to use it and dig up any finds. In Australia, each state issues mining licences, so contact the department for issuing miners’ rights. In Victoria, you can buy a 10-year miner’s right from Earth Resources for $24.20.
Which metal detector to buy?
There are so many to choose from! On our website, we’ve reviewed a range of metal detectors for kids that you might want to research further:
- National Geographic PRO Series Metal Detector
- BARSKA Winbest Pro Edition Metal Detector
- Bounty Hunter Time Ranger Metal Detector
- Ground EFX MC1 youth metal detector
The Bounty Hunter Junior Metal Detector and Bounty Hunter BHJS junior metal detector are also worth considering.
Happy treasure hunting!